Gas gangrene history and symptoms

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

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Overview

Gas gangrene causes very painful swelling. The skin turns pale to brownish-red. If you press on the swollen area with your fingers, you may feel gas as a crackly sensation. The edges of the infected area grow so quickly that changes can be seen over a few minutes. The area may be completely destroyed.

Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • Drainage from the tissues, foul-smelling brown-red or bloody fluid (serosanguineous discharge)
  • Moderate to severe pain around a skin injury
  • Pale skin color, later becoming dusky and changing to dark red or purple
  • Progressive swelling around a skin injury
  • Vesicle formation, combining into large blisters

Note: Symptoms usually begin suddenly and quickly worsen.

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